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An interesting trend has taken shape in recent years -- U.S. wind manufacturing has undergone a dramatic expansion. That means the equipment used to build U.S. wind farms -- including towers, blades, gears, and generators -- is increasingly being made right here in America.
Among the companies who have contributed to this trend is Nordex -- a global manufacturer of wind turbines. In 2010, Nordex USA, Inc. opened its flagship nacelle production facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. At the 150,000 square foot facility, Nordex USA’s production crew, comprised mainly of local Arkansans, specializes in assembling components for 2.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines -- each with the capacity to power about 750 American homes.
Since opening the Jonesboro facility, Nordex USA has shipped turbine components made in Arkansas to wind power projects across America – including the Shirley Wind Farm near Green Bay, Wisconsin, three wind farms in Iowa totaling 130 MW, a 75 MW wind farm in Pennsylvania and a 45 MW wind farm in Power County, Idaho. To meet demand from customers, the company’s workforce has grown rapidly – from just two employees at its Chicago headquarters in 2008 to more than 220 within the past year.
All over the United States, wind manufacturers like Nordex have been thriving, but their continued expansion and progress is less than certain. This is largely due to uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Production Tax Credit and other important tax and clean energy policies. For the United States to stay competitive, take advantage of its domestic energy source and lead the global wind industry, continued support for these clean energy tax incentives is critical.
To learn more about what’s ahead for the American wind industry, view the Energy Department’s 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report.